We bring these latest fire prosecutions to you to act as a reminder and warning about the responsibilities and legal obligations of business owners to undertake regular fire risk assessments.
Case 1: Landlord from Lincoln receives second fine over fire safety breaches
A rogue Lincoln landlord has been ordered to pay more than £10,000 after he was prosecuted for an unsafe property – for a second time.
The City of Lincoln Council won a second legal battle against Mr Abdol Ali Javid Keshmiri, who was ordered to pay £10,123.30 in fines and costs for a property which failed to comply with safety.
The terraced house, which was converted into two flats, was inspected in June 2017 following a complaint from a member of the public.
The house was occupied by a family of four including two young children in the upstairs flat and by a single person in the downstairs flat.
The property had several breaches of fire safety requirements including a failure to provide adequate fire separation when the property was converted without planning permission or building regulations approval.
Fire alarms were missing and doors were sealed shut and wallpapered over, which would not prevent the spread of fire.
The ceilings had also not been upgraded to prevent the spread of fire and another window in the downstairs bedroom did not open and could not have been used to escape from fire.
Keshmiri was previously convicted and charged £8,253.38 in October 2016 for 11 similar offences at a property on Ely Street.
Hannah Cann, Private Housing Team Leader of City of Lincoln Council, said: “We are extremely concerned with landlords who have created unsafe flats in Lincoln by dividing up properties without complying with Building Regulation requirements.”
Case 2: Wolverhampton landlord is handed huge £34k fine
A landlord from Wolverhampton has been handed a £34k fine for breaching a number of housing rules, including regarding fire safety, at an HMO under his ownership.
Fire hazards, electrical issues, damp and a large pile of waste were all found at the property when council inspectors visited in June.
That inspection followed confirmation that no approval had been sought for the conversion of the property to flats, therefore confirming it was a HMO and should be regulated under the HMO regulations.
The property consisted of two sets of flats - 11 flats in total of which seven were being lived in.
District Judge Murray said: "It was clear that the property was a high fire risk and that candles were being used at the property which also had loose wiring.
"The fact that one of the walls was separating from the structure leaving a gap, together with the blocked means of escape, missing banisters, an inoperative fire alarm system and disconnected smoke detectors created a risk of smoke penetration and injury in the event of a fire.
"Apart from the fire risk the damp throughout the property posed a risk to health.”
Councillor Peter Bilson, deputy leader and cabinet member for city assets and housing, said: “We are determined to bring to task landlords who are not complying with housing laws and building regulations.
“Our residents’ health and wellbeing is of paramount importance to us and this case should act as a lesson to all landlords in the private sector.
“Thankfully, the majority of landlords in Wolverhampton abide by the rules and regulations and co-operate with the council.
“The council takes very seriously its commitment to monitoring the private housing sector and we will continue to do so to ensure tenants’ living standards are of the highest quality.”
Case 3: York hotel landed with hefty £120k fine
A York hotel has been handed a huge fine totalling over £120,000 after a string of fire safety offences were uncovered at the property, placing guests at risk.
In March last year, fire safety inspectors from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service received an anonymous complaint stating that the fire alarm was not working at the Lamb and Lion pub and hotel.
A fire safety officer visited the building and found that the fire alarm system had been condemned by the fire alarm servicing company some days before their visit, and that despite this, rooms providing sleeping accommodation in the hotel were still being used.
The fire safety officer deemed that the fire alarm system was inadequate as in the event of a fire there was a risk that people would not be given adequate warning, and that even with a night watchman it could not be guaranteed that all residents would be safe.
There were also a number of other fire safety matters which caused concern, including fire doors which were held open and the poor storage of combustible materials in a boiler cupboard and the basement area.
The fire risk assessment had not identified all the problems despite the company being made aware of some of the matters which required attention.
Due to the poor fire safety conditions found, a prohibition notice and an enforcement notice were served.
The company running the business at the time of the incident was Sloping Tactic Limited part of the trading group HRH which is involved with hotels, pubs and apartments in North Yorkshire and the City of York.
Sloping Tactic Limited pleaded guilty to three contraventions of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and was fined £110,000 and ordered to pay £2,863.59 in costs with a surcharge of £170.
In handing down the sentence the magistrate said; “We feel the operator fell well short of the required standard.”
Station Manager, David Watson of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service make visits to buildings when reports of poor fire safety standards are made to us.
“Depending on what is found appropriate advice will be given to the business, informal action may be taken or in some cases such as this the necessary enforcement action will be implemented.”
“In this case following the inspection, prohibition and enforcement notices were served. An investigation was conducted because the fire safety problems were so serious. The responsible person had not given sufficient thought to what might happen if a fire had occurred.
“Conducting or commissioning a fire risk assessment is the starting point for beginning to ensure that a building is or can be made safe for people in the event of a fire.”
Take a look at our infographic which outlines the top tips for fire safety in the hotel industry here.
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